Council gives final approval on $17.4M in streetcar funding - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

City Council gives final approval on additional streetcar funding

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

Cincinnati's city council officially gave the green light on Wednesday for additional $17.4 million towards the planned streetcar project with a 5-4 vote.

The council's budget and finance committee gave the first approval on Monday.

All nine council members are on the committee that voted 5 to 4 Monday to add the money. Roxanne Qualls, Laure Quinlivan, Chris Seelbach, Wendell Young, and Yvette Simpson all voted in favor of the funding.

"This is going to be a transformative investment for us and I'm thrilled that we're going ahead," Laura Quinlivan told FOX19.

For project supporters, the vote was a major victory in a long line of battles against streetcar challengers. 

"I look forward to saying, ‘Well done Cincinnati'," Yvette Simpson said. "We finally finished what we started and it did not take us 20 years to do it."

Even opponents recognized the long uphill trek supporters have been on to see the project through.

"Even if you are wrong I do want to commend you for your ability to fight for what you believe in," Charlie Winburn stated in council chambers.

The committee followed the City Manager's April recommendation to use a combination of funding sources to fill the gap.

  • $6.5 million from funds connected to projects around the Cincinnati Horseshoe Casino site.
  • $5.4 million from money originally set aside for the Music Hall project, which won't be needed until 2016.
  • $400,000 from money already budgeted for traffic signal replacement and improvements.
  • $500,000 from Cincinnati Water Works, which would help pay for water main work associated with the streetcar project.
  • Remaining $4.6 million from issuing General Capital debt, which would reduce money available to pay for economic development and housing projects by 3% over the next 20 years.

The committee also approved motions asking the city administration to provide the council and public with more accountability.

"It says something unfortunate that six years later council has to put pen to paper and say, ‘By the way, we would like accountability, we would like transparency, we would like a concrete plan'," council member P.G. Sittenfeld argued during the meeting.  "I think it unfortunately reflects why we're here right now and not all taking a streetcar from Uptown to the Banks for a meal."

"There were reports before, but now we're actually to the phase where we're going to move towards construction so it becomes critically important that we have the milestones, we know that we are on budget, that if there are any problems that are emerging that they are clearly identified and that the public as well as city council are completely informed," Roxanne Qualls told FOX19 following the committee meeting.

The growing price tag for the planned 3.6-mile track and streetcar was estimated last month at $133 million.

Supporters say the streetcar will boost downtown business and tourism while some critics have said the city needs the money for other purposes.

Copyright 2013 WXIX. All rights reserved.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US

    Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:16 AM EST2018-02-25 07:16:08 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 6:36 PM EST2018-02-25 23:36:56 GMT
    (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A volunteer walks in a foggy Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A volunteer walks in a foggy Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.

    Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the modern Olympics on Sunday night with tales of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve.

    More >>

    Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the modern Olympics on Sunday night with tales of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve.

    More >>
  • China paves way for Xi Jinping to extend rule beyond 2 terms

    China paves way for Xi Jinping to extend rule beyond 2 terms

    Sunday, February 25 2018 4:05 AM EST2018-02-25 09:05:47 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 6:17 PM EST2018-02-25 23:17:26 GMT
    Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a joint press briefing with French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a joint press briefing with French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

    China's official news agency says the ruling Communist Party has proposed removing a limit of two consecutive terms for the country's president and vice president.

    More >>

    China's official news agency says the ruling Communist Party has proposed removing a limit of two consecutive terms for the country's president and vice president.

    More >>
  • 5 dead after tornado, flooding from central US storms

    5 dead after tornado, flooding from central US storms

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:25 AM EST2018-02-25 07:25:46 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 6:06 PM EST2018-02-25 23:06:23 GMT
    (Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP). A view from the Central Bridge shows the flooding from the Ohio River  Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Cincinnati.  Forecasters expected the Ohio River could reach levels not seen since the region's deadly 1997 f...(Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP). A view from the Central Bridge shows the flooding from the Ohio River Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Cincinnati. Forecasters expected the Ohio River could reach levels not seen since the region's deadly 1997 f...

    A man in northeast Arkansas and a woman in south central Kentucky both were killed as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain that triggered flooding muscled its way through the area, according to authorities.

    More >>

    A man in northeast Arkansas and a woman in south central Kentucky both were killed as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain that triggered flooding muscled its way through the area, according to authorities.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly